zaramo doll face

Zaramo Mwana Hiti Fertility doll

Zaramo Mwana Hiti Fertility doll NFT

This NFT is inspired by the actual physical piece Zaramo Mwana Hiti Fertility doll is in the possession of current NFT artist. The physical piece of art is also available for sale.

Mwana hiti are usually made of wood, however some Zaramo traditions say they should be made for fertility. Sizes of the mwana hiti vary, the average being around 10 centimeters. They can be projections of a child, a woman with a child, or an mwali. Mwana hiti are cylindrical figures with depictions of a head and torso of relatively equal size and usually no arms, legs or genitalia. Breasts and a navel are often present as well as hair. Facial features are simple and abstract, occasionally not being present. These figures may be decorated with metal (if hair is present) or white beads as jewelry.

Mwali hiti are meant to spark a “nurturing consciousness” within the mwali to instill a desire to have children. They also act as the main socializing for the mwali during her seclusion, measuring her skills as a future mother and teaching her the responsibilities of womanhood (i.e. taking care of oneself and children.)[19][22]

Mwali must treat the mwana hiti as her child, bathing it, oiling it, dressing the hair (of which the mwali wears the same style,) and feeding it. If she fails to complete these motherly tasks she may be denied fertility in the future. Fertility is prized in Zaramo culture as children are seen as economic and cultural goals for prosperity and legacy.

If a woman encounters fertility after her initiation is over, she may choose to repeat seclusion and mwana hiti rites. This means the mwana hiti can also double as a tambiko, or “sacrifice,” as a means to create stronger ties with the spiritual world. reference:

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